The Serengeti Girls of Tanzania edged closer to a maiden qualification after they defeated the baby Lionesses of Cameroon 4-1 in the first leg, final round qualifiers for the India 2022 FIFA U17 Women's World Cup in Yaounde on Sunday.
Forward Clara Cleitus Luvanga was on target thrice as the Tanzanite gained a massive advantage away from home in their bid for a first ever global stage experience.
Diana Williams Mnally stunned the home side when she gave the visitors the shock lead after just four minutes of play at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium.
Bernadette Ngaseh Mbele, however leveled the score in the 21st minute to keep alive the Cameroonians' hopes for a positive home result.
Red-hot Luvanga recovered the Tanzanite lead when she doubled the advantage six minutes later to ensure the visitors went into the tunnel with their nose in front at half time.
After the restart, Luvanga went on the score her second and third of the match to complete treble, making the baby Lionesses looked clueless in front of their own home crowd.
"It was not an easy game. I will take to opportunity to congratulate my girls, the followed the instructions very well. Our strategy was to take the lead in this first game, so as to make the match easy in the return leg in Zanzibar," Tanzania coach Bakari Shime said during his post match press conference.
With her three goals in Yaounde, Luvanga has scored 10 goals in the qualifying series, the highest by any player in the competition.
For Coach Stephane Ndzana, she will be looking to ensure her side bounce back to claim the qualification in Zanzibar when they meet in the return leg at the Amaan Stadium on June 5th.
Tanzania, who had earlier eliminated Botswana and Burundi in the qualifiers are now on the brink of making history, should they complete their qualification quest in the reverse fixture and earn one of three tickets to India in October.